Woman v. Woman? Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Woman v. Woman? Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
by Megan Denneny
October 17, 2016
Office politics are already hard enough to navigate, it’s time to put an end to destructive thoughts in the workplace. Stop comparing yourself to others.
How many times did you compare yourself to another woman today?

It’s likely you did it more than you think. "Her hair is perfect." "I wish I had a body like hers." “I’m not pretty enough.” Inhibiting thoughts like these cross women's minds daily. In fact, according to a report in a recent article for the Daily Mail, women put themselves down at least eight times a day.

Although body image and appearance stand out for being the most common criticism among ladies (a conversation for another time), not earning a large enough paycheck and lack of professional confidence are not too far behind. Suddenly, ludicrous thoughts transform into normality and negatively affect our behaviors, relationships, and overall goodwill. While comparison is a detrimental habit that needs to be broken on every level, professionally it can lead to animosity and even more unhappiness in everyday life. 

While competition can be healthy, there is a major difference between feeling more pressured to perform effectively and feeling defeated by thoughts that are repeatedly dreamt up in your mind and understanding the difference between them can prevent harmful behavior.

As women in the workplace, there are often stigmas surround how we should act or feel. Too often jealousy, insecurity, and combative behavior come into play. Instead of buying into negative thoughts, we should strive to encourage and facilitate honest conversations that help us reach full potential instead of spending our time cutting each other down on the climb up the professional ladder. Most of all comparing yourself to others plays a major role in your career: you may haphazardly cause problems that could be easily avoided.

You don’t create exceptional work

If you find yourself preparing for a meeting constantly concerned that her idea is more creative, original and totally going to knock the socks off of your new boss, more than likely she will prove you right. If you spend more time wondering about other people’s ideas then you will most likely pale in comparison. When our minds are so connected to what others are doing around us, it becomes difficult to remain focused and form complete and original thoughts. Instead of worrying or instantly shutting down, offer to work together with another colleague. Plan a time for you to brainstorm together and encourage a combined effort share your ideas and reach a conclusion.

You promote an uncomfortable work environment

Don’t get me wrong there are just some people you will never see eye to eye with. You see something one way while their opinion is a million light years away on another planet. However, it is dangerous to assume you don’t like or won’t get along with someone because you feel inferior. If you feel uncomfortable it can often show in your body language, tone of voice and the way you communicate with others. Spreading uneasy energy creates awkwardness that your entire team and even office will feel. Instead of transferring your nervous energy onto everyone else, think about how you can be the one that keeps everyone on the same page. Focus on your listening skills or how you can strike up a conversation with anyone. Do all you can to ease tension and your team will thank you for it.

You don’t congratulate yourself as much

Did you forget to buy yourself a celebratory chocolate chip cookie and bottle of wine because you were too busy comparing yourself to someone else? Just because you are impressed with her career doesn’t mean you should stop being proud of your own accomplishments. “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” is a quote we all should pay a little more attention to. Everyone’s path differs significantly and there is no right or wrong way to reach your goals. Supporting others and dwelling on why you aren’t as good are two completely different things so make sure you are not falling into the latter.

You miss out on a mentor/mentee

Finding someone to coach or learn from is vital in anyone’s professional career. If there is a talented woman you are constantly comparing yourself to, take it upon yourself to open the door to create a professional relationship that will be worthwhile for the both of you. Finding our way no matter our industry, level of experience or geographic location is important and no one likes to feel lost or inferior. If you take the time to create a special professional bond, it will consistently reward you along your path.

At the end of the day, we all have something completely awesome to offer both personally and professionally. When we laser focus on others it creates an unnecessary hurdle for us to jump over every day. It is important to remember that social media provides a skewed vision of “real life” and in between the white-toothed smiling selfies, happy hour shots, and #foodporn flat lays, there are real women with struggles just like you and me, so let’s ban together and inspire each other both in our careers and in everyday life.
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How do you avoid comparing yourself to other women?